This was the first time that this problem was debated in the Houses of Parliament. This is a result of unceasing campaigning from a number of people and groups, including Sam Cockerill, the partner of Steve Godbold. Steve was hit and killed by a lorry on the M25 in September 2017.
In addition to Sam, there is the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) For Roadside Rescue and Recovery (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/190619/roadside-rescue-and-recovery.htm).
The full text of the debate can be found in Hansard (https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-07-23/debates/6F0D4798-3D63-46D8-BC77-C94436CDA00F/RoadsideRecoveryVehiclesRedLights). In the text, you will see that contributions were made by Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP), Sir Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead) (Con) and The Minister of State, Department for Transport, Michael Ellis.
The debate was frank and forceful lasting less than half an hour. The result of the debate being that The Minister of State has “asked officials to carry out a review of the available evidence in the context of existing policy on red flashing lights, and seek advice on whether a more flexible approach might be appropriate.” This review will take several months and then even longer to implement any resulting action. In the meantime, we as an industry must take actions to look after ourselves!
The Campaign for Safer Roadside Rescue and Recovery acts as the APP Group’s secretariat and is calling for a halt to the current roll-out of smart motorways, until Highways England can prove they are safe.
Another body who needs as much support as possible is the “Slow Down, Move Over UK” campaign. SDMO are calling for a change to the highway code, to make it clear to road users what to do when approaching a breakdown.
Author: Doug Fairlie, Sales Manager.